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(NPR)   Meet the 81 year old retiree who stole a satellite to go comet-chasing for three decades. He didn't steal it; he just borrowed it for a while. Now he wants to give it back   (npr.org) divider line 44
    More: Cool, comets, satellites, flight plans, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Atmospheric, overpass, solar winds  
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6694 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Mar 2014 at 9:20 PM (36 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



44 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-03-18 07:57:04 PM  
Great find, subby.  Can't wait for the science-y crowd ....
 
2014-03-18 08:20:51 PM  
Man, that guy sounds like a hoot. A real space cowboy. Satellite rustler.
 
2014-03-18 08:24:09 PM  
That is bad ass.  I hope that not only do they manage to talk to it but that NASA actually lets them put it to good use.
 
2014-03-18 08:31:56 PM  
Pretty cool
 
2014-03-18 08:42:43 PM  
Meh I did something similar in Kerbal. Only took 1.6km/sec delta-V. Pwned.
 
2014-03-18 08:55:11 PM  
heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov

And that was just the first time. The AMSAT-DL folks have picked up its carrier beacon as of a few days ago. If they can do something with their 20m dish, or if the JHU APL 18.3m ground station still has the gear hinted at in the article, we may yet get more science out of this thing.

The funny decision, should two-way communications be re-established, will be whether to recapture it and resume the original mission to explore Earth's magnetosphere or to let it be borrowed again for cometary encounters in 2017 or 2018. Whatever science can be returned, it's a pretty good ROI: the part-time efforts of some hams and researchers still are a lot cheaper than any launch.
 
2014-03-18 09:39:35 PM  
He's so adept at calculating these exotic trajectories that often, just for fun, he's made sure that key mission events fall on birthdays or anniversaries.

Smart dude
 
2014-03-18 09:41:46 PM  

bmr68: He's so adept at calculating these exotic trajectories that often, just for fun, he's made sure that key mission events fall on birthdays or anniversaries.

Smart dude


I don't doubt he's known when something will re-enter near him so he can run out and predict it. That's the kind of super power you could start a cult with.
 
2014-03-18 09:43:01 PM  
For some reason I expected to read about a guy driving a Plymouth in street races against a guy in a Mercury...

/turns in geek card
 
2014-03-18 09:46:12 PM  

Twilight Farkle: [heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov image 710x557]


That graphic makes my head hurt. @_o
 
2014-03-18 10:03:07 PM  
this guy won KSP
 
2014-03-18 10:07:15 PM  
He's been called the master of getting to places. His genius is inventing esoteric flight plans that take advantage of gravitational boosts from the moon and close flybys of Earth to send space probes zipping around the solar system in surprising ways. He's so adept at calculating these exotic trajectories that often, just for fun, he's made sure that key mission events fall on birthdays or anniversaries.

You rang?

24.media.tumblr.com
 
2014-03-18 10:09:10 PM  

Twilight Farkle: [heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov image 710x557]

And that was just the first time. The AMSAT-DL folks have picked up its carrier beacon as of a few days ago. If they can do something with their 20m dish, or if the JHU APL 18.3m ground station still has the gear hinted at in the article, we may yet get more science out of this thing.

The funny decision, should two-way communications be re-established, will be whether to recapture it and resume the original mission to explore Earth's magnetosphere or to let it be borrowed again for cometary encounters in 2017 or 2018. Whatever science can be returned, it's a pretty good ROI: the part-time efforts of some hams and researchers still are a lot cheaper than any launch.


so it encountered the first comet on 9/11?
/gubmint needs to investigate him!
 
2014-03-18 10:21:27 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-03-18 10:24:28 PM  
Kinda big, kinda hot.

imgs.xkcd.com
 
2014-03-18 10:32:00 PM  
We didn't steal it; we just borrowed it for a while!

Wow, he actually said that. For that alone, he should be smacked in the face with a length of bicycle chain.

/cool what he did with it, though
 
2014-03-18 10:40:33 PM  
Damn, I'd give anything to be able to peek into that ol guy's head. He's got some madly irreplacable skillz.
 
2014-03-18 11:23:46 PM  
How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?
 
2014-03-18 11:29:20 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: We didn't steal it; we just borrowed it for a while!

Wow, he actually said that. For that alone, he should be smacked in the face with a length of bicycle chain.

/cool what he did with it, though


I liked:

"OK, so we took it away in 1983 and you get it back in 2014. How many years is that?" says Farquhar, quickly calculating. "Oh, that's about 31 years."
 
2014-03-18 11:36:29 PM  

MBA Whore: How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?


My wife wondered the same thing.
 
2014-03-18 11:43:47 PM  

MBA Whore: How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?


because we havent always been such a nation of assholes
people used to be able to streak or take a piss without getting put on the sex offender list
then we got shiat for brains Reagans and we got "JUST SAY NO", and "SOFT ON CRIME"

and we fell the fark apart

Now we have scared white people SHOOTING and KILLING black kids because they were AFRAID.
FFS

Nation of ASSHOLES
 
2014-03-18 11:45:50 PM  

namatad: then we got shiat for brains Reagans


FTA:
President Reagan even sent him a congratulatory letter.

Lighten up, Francis.
 
2014-03-18 11:55:14 PM  

BizarreMan: MBA Whore: How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?

My wife wondered the same thing.


namatad: because we havent always been such a nation of assholes


Because, from what I understand, he didn't do it without permission. He went to NASA and went "Hey! I can get you to a comet with a satellite you've already got in orbit!"

The "YOU STOLE IT" bit was the people who were PISSED about the satellite being diverted from its initial mission. I.E. he stole it from its intended purpose (like stealing a person's thunder.)

He did not *LITERALLY* hack and steal it.
 
2014-03-19 12:04:21 AM  
img.fark.net

I got my eye on you Farquhar
 
2014-03-19 12:08:31 AM  

Pash: Kinda big, kinda hot.

[imgs.xkcd.com image 740x961]


there is so much win in that one.
 
2014-03-19 12:16:53 AM  
namatad [TotalFark]
2014-03-18 11:43:47 PM

MBA Whore: How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?

because we havent always been such a nation of assholes
people used to be able to streak or take a piss without getting put on the sex offender list
then we got shiat for brains Reagans and we got "JUST SAY NO", and "SOFT ON CRIME"

and we fell the fark apart

Now we have scared white people SHOOTING and KILLING black kids because they were AFRAID.
FFS

Nation of ASSHOLES

Dumbass Derp is dumb. You fail at basic reading. FTFA "President Reagan even sent him a congratulatory letter."

8 years of clinton,
8 years of zero

Where are all your fixes for the "reagan years"?
 
2014-03-19 12:31:02 AM  

blastoh: there is so much win in that one.


fyi...the comic # for this one is.....#1337
/:-)
 
2014-03-19 12:31:20 AM  
I'm wondering the same thing too.
That's some serious misappropriation of company resources, right there.
 
2014-03-19 12:44:49 AM  
bonus link, thanks Google.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/_docs/haloOrbitLunarStation.pdf


internet points if you actually understand it!
 
2014-03-19 01:25:25 AM  

minuslars: internet points if you actually understand it!


oh yeah...
/ The Tsiolkovsky crater is the lunar base of my novel I am writing as we speak.
 
2014-03-19 06:08:53 AM  

Felgraf: BizarreMan: MBA Whore: How is one still employed, let alone not in jail, after "borrowing" a satellite?

My wife wondered the same thing.

namatad: because we havent always been such a nation of assholes

Because, from what I understand, he didn't do it without permission. He went to NASA and went "Hey! I can get you to a comet with a satellite you've already got in orbit!"

The "YOU STOLE IT" bit was the people who were PISSED about the satellite being diverted from its initial mission. I.E. he stole it from its intended purpose (like stealing a person's thunder.)

He did not *LITERALLY* hack and steal it.


What a chump.

fc01.deviantart.net
 
2014-03-19 07:41:46 AM  
Actually, the whole thing about not having the equipment?  Bullshiat.

Today, if you have the specifications, you can code up the appropriate data format into a software defined radio.  The hardware  is irrelevant, so long as it covers the appropriate frequencies, because all the formatting of the signal can be done by software.

Now, whether you have enough *TIME* to code and test the software, that's a different story, but I'm thinking you'd probably have enough time if you put a few really sharp programmers on it.
 
2014-03-19 08:02:53 AM  
You know who else hijacked American government satellites for their own purposes?

Brazilian ham radio operators:

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2009/04/fleetcom?current Pa ge=all
 
2014-03-19 08:22:56 AM  

dittybopper: Brazilian ham radio operators:


That's a lot of ham radio operators.
 
2014-03-19 08:59:33 AM  

Satanic_Hamster: dittybopper: Brazilian ham radio operators:

That's a lot of ham radio operators.


Heh.

On a more serious note, there are more ham radio operators in the US today than at any other time.  One out of every 450 people in the US today is a ham.

In 1970, the "Heyday" of ham radio in the US, there was only one ham radio operator for every 750 people.
 
2014-03-19 09:27:19 AM  
These guys might be able to help.

www.oocities.org

republibot.com
 
2014-03-19 10:15:11 AM  

Twilight Farkle: [heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov image 710x557]

And that was just the first time. The AMSAT-DL folks have picked up its carrier beacon as of a few days ago. If they can do something with their 20m dish, or if the JHU APL 18.3m ground station still has the gear hinted at in the article, we may yet get more science out of this thing.

The funny decision, should two-way communications be re-established, will be whether to recapture it and resume the original mission to explore Earth's magnetosphere or to let it be borrowed again for cometary encounters in 2017 or 2018. Whatever science can be returned, it's a pretty good ROI: the part-time efforts of some hams and researchers still are a lot cheaper than any launch.


I think that was the concept behind the "Star Trek: First Contact" film: a bunch of people dressed like hoboes could mod an ICBM into the first warp-capable spaceship.

Math rarely gets credit for balls, but this guy has 'em. It was all probably calculated on a red LED TI programmable, too.

Or one of these:

www.vintagecalculators.com

I have a working one I use with a sextant aboard my boat. Eats 4 AAs, but hey...
 
2014-03-19 10:26:52 AM  

GardenWeasel: He's been called the master of getting to places. His genius is inventing esoteric flight plans that take advantage of gravitational boosts from the moon and close flybys of Earth to send space probes zipping around the solar system in surprising ways. He's so adept at calculating these exotic trajectories that often, just for fun, he's made sure that key mission events fall on birthdays or anniversaries.

You rang?

[24.media.tumblr.com image 850x647]


And the new movie will be about the fact that little D'Argo Sun-Crichton  will be able to do the same thing..

Which is cool
 
2014-03-19 10:31:02 AM  

dittybopper: Satanic_Hamster: dittybopper: Brazilian ham radio operators:

That's a lot of ham radio operators.

Heh.

On a more serious note, there are more ham radio operators in the US today than at any other time.  One out of every 450 people in the US today is a ham.

In 1970, the "Heyday" of ham radio in the US, there was only one ham radio operator for every 750 people.


i haven't been active in 1.5 years (my ex has my tower).
 
2014-03-19 11:36:57 AM  

Labrat407: These guys might be able to help.

[www.oocities.org image 174x145]

[republibot.com image 474x590]


Glad to see I'm not the only one who watched that.
 
2014-03-19 11:53:39 AM  

asciibaron: dittybopper: Satanic_Hamster: dittybopper: Brazilian ham radio operators:

That's a lot of ham radio operators.

Heh.

On a more serious note, there are more ham radio operators in the US today than at any other time.  One out of every 450 people in the US today is a ham.

In 1970, the "Heyday" of ham radio in the US, there was only one ham radio operator for every 750 people.

i haven't been active in 1.5 years (my ex has my tower).


I've been an active ham for 24 years, and I've *NEVER* had a tower.  Closest I've ever had to one is the 10 foot pole on the back of the house that holds up the 2 meter copper pipe J-pole I built years ago.

Right now I've got a Heathkit HW-8 on my 80 Meter end fed zepp, and my Kenwood TS-520 on my 20 meter wire J-pole strung up in a tree.  And I have no problems making contacts.
 
2014-03-19 11:59:33 AM  

Valiente: Or one of these:

I have a working one I use with a sextant aboard my boat. Eats 4 AAs, but hey...


This is what I use:

sliderulemuseum.com

Except mine is stamped "AMERICAN-STANDARD INDUSTRIAL DIVISION" on the back

For the car, I have an E6B for calculating expected arrival times, fuel economy, etc.
 
2014-03-19 09:32:10 PM  
NICE SLIDE RULE DITTY!!!!
 
2014-03-20 09:38:33 AM  

Kittypie070: NICE SLIDE RULE DITTY!!!!


Originally I had an N200ES, in "eye saver" yellow. but I like the white better.

Plus, I'm a big fan of the Pickett metal slide rules.

Nothing gives you geek cred like whipping out a slipstick in a restaurant to calculate the tip.
 
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